New Job

Embedded System
After the best part of 7 months being unemployed I have now secured a new job. It is in embedded system development and seems to offer the interest and mental challenge that was so lacking in my previous job.

Developing hardware and software for embedded systems for a company in the gaming/gambling industry was where I first started back in 1988 after leaving university but with time I gradually moved into the writing the actual games.

Despite this I was able to keep my foot in the door of hardware development and writing the code to make the hardware work, it was always this side I preferred more and it was my nice little niche skill set. Unfortunately that aspect of the work dried up at my previous employer, leaving me an unfulfilled and unappreciated code monkey.

I start working next month and really cannot wait!

Expensive Car Parts (Part 2)

Scrap cars

Back in March I posted about the ridiculous quote of £270 to replace a seized wiper motor on my car. I had no luck hunting down a second hand so decide to have a go at repairing it. Well it just took a bit of courage to pull of the trim panel and remove the assembly. A few screws later and it was in pieces, sure enough it had seized – some penetrating oil, a hammer and grease it was working again (be it slower than before).

Well it packed up again last month I have just had a look at having another go at repairing it, only to find out it has fallen apart, seems I didn’t do the screws up tight enough. It is beyond repair now as I’ve lost some vital internal parts (like the motor brushes!) so back to the scrapheap challenge of finding a cheap replacement!

Digital switchover scheme is ‘stressful, confusing and unfair’ and is giving BSkyB and unfair advantage

Sky Remote

The Guardian newspaper is reporting that manufacturer and consumer groups are criticising a government scheme designed to help elderly and vulnerable viewers switch to digital television claiming it is sowing confusion and helping BSkyB market its pay-TV services.

It is reported that as a pay-TV company with a set-top box design operation, Sky had an unfair advantage when it was handed the contract to be the digital switch over help scheme’s “standard offer” for the ITV Border region, the first part of the UK to go digital.

The scheme is being funded with £603m of BBC licence fee money and entitles over-75s and disabled people to have a set-top box installed for a one-off fee of £40 – or for free if they are on benefits.

The industry groups are particularly concerned that for the first two months after installing its set-top boxes, Sky provides free access to the personal recorder service Sky+ and to some pay channels. Customers are then left to decide whether to continue receiving these services by taking out a subscription or to settle for a free package without the added benefits.

Also reported on DigitalSpy

I think it just shows how ill thought out the whole digital switch-over is, why let someone with a commercial interest be involved when Freeview and Freesat are viable alternatives, and if terrestrial DVB (Freeview) isn’t an option due to reception problems then surely that undermines the push to withdraw the analogue service! Allowing a mercenary commercial operation with it’s bewildering and confusing array of options and prices to basically swindle old and vulnerable people out of their money is a disgrace, especially if being paid to do it out of the tax payers money!

Saturday – Taking it easy (I wish!)

House husband of the year

This weekend the wife is staying at her sister’s helping out with some family matters, so I am at home on my own looking after the dogs. I am sure most people would have expected me to sit about on the computer, watching tv, drinking etc.

Well true I did stay up till 2am this morning doing some stuff on the computer, while sort of watching The Devils Rejects on ITV4, but this morning I was up at 7am to let the dogs out, feed them and went in to town to get some fresh produce off the market.

When I came home I noticed the house had a slight odour of dog so have decided to wash their bedding, poor old Fred is slightly incontinent because of kidney problems.

Then defrosted the freezer because the third draw was stopping the door closing, hidden away in the ice was a wayward party sausage roll!

I did watch the F1 GrandPrix qualifying and now just about to clean the carpets!